Running Zen + Running Inspired

Can every weekend be this fun? I got two new books on running that I’m trying to read simultaneously. (It’s really hard to pick just one. As a matter of fact, I’m in the middle of four books right now…)

The title of the first book caught my eye immediately. Make peace with my pace?! Yeah, I definitely need that. Reading through the book gives you a rather detailed insight to Zen Buddhism as well as to applying zen to your training and running. So far it has been helpful in reminding me why running is such an integral part of my life now. I need to prioritize it because it doesn’t take nearly as much as it gives. It makes me a better person.

Zen and the Art of Running

Then, when the book got a bit too relaxing for me, I decided to browse a few other books. I’ve had 26.2 on my list for almost two years now so I decided to treat myself. Dean always does a great job at motivating me to get out there. This time was no different! After about 30 pages in I was ready to call it a night and hit the road the next morning, bright and early. As usual his personality really does shine through. What’s interesting is that he actually dictates the book into his phone or recorder while he is running across the country. I’ll have to try that sometime! (It’s probably also a really good pacing method.)

Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss

So I woke up many times through the night…my cats were hosting their very own 10K apparently around my apartment. So in between the thuds and the hisses and yowling I tossed and turned until I finally woke up for the fourth time and decided that it was time to get out there. And then this happened:

Felix Baumgartner Getting Ready
Felix Baumgartner Standing on the Edge
Felix Baumgartner Jumping Into The Stratosphere
Felix Baumgartner Free Falling

I sat in on a live broadcast of Felix Baumgartner smashing world records. This guy has some serious guts! I watched his balloon carry him all the way up into the stratosphere, and watched has he was troubleshooting his visor…and then was glued to the computer when he prepared for his jump. The second he leapt into the free fall I could just feel the entire world gasp. I stayed glued to my computer until I saw this.

Felix Baumgartner Travels At the Speed of Sound Back to Earth

Victory was clearly his. And, riding on the coattails of his victory, I headed out the door a bit inspired by this man’s actions as well as my weekend readings. I cleared my iPod of most upbeat, peppy music and loaded some meditative tracks — Skye, Robert Miles, Muse, and the like. I ran at a speed that was comfortable and I focused on what was ahead. I packed my phone into my Camelbak so that my hands and attention would be free of distractions.

As I carried on, I could see the clouds moving in and out of the Seattle skyline pretty quickly. I’ve gotten used to staring at the clouds but today they seemed to have been moving quicker than usual. The sky was completely grayed over. I made my way through Eastlake into downtown, and proceeded down my usual route into Pike Place Market. I passed the original Starbucks and saw the cool performers out front. This part of my run was the most crowded with tourists and shoppers…next time I’ll have to avoid this on my route. I took note of a wine tasting room as well as an olive oil tasting boutique nearby.

I kept running along the waterfront until I hit the Olympic Sculpture Garden. I took the trail by the water and as I kept going into Queen Anne, it started getting a bit windy and drizzly. I was prepared with a running hat, a long sleeved shirt underneath a waterproof windbreaker, and waterproof shoes. As I made my way up the foot bridge over Elliot, I landed in Queen Anne and kept running. I saw some familiar landmarks: Easy Street Records, the Seattle Repertory Theater, and the Seattle Center.

From Seattle to West Seattle at the Olympic Sculpture Park

I ran past the Experience Music Project at the Seattle Center and the Space Needle. I could see the Amazon buildings in the distance along Denny and Westlake and ran around South Lake Union a bit. I checked my RunKeeper and saw that I still had a few miles to go to make my distance goal for the day, so I planned on running back home and past it to the University Bridge and back. Along the way, it started drizzling more (not quite raining, but still drippy nonetheless). I couldn’t help but become enchanted by the rain dripping off of my hat brim.

From Eastlake to Downtown to Pike Place Market to Belltown to the Olympic Sculpture Park to Queen Anne to the Seattle Center through South Lake Union to University Bridge and Back to Eastlake…phew!

It was an awesome first wet run of the season. I can remember the run but I can’t remember agonizing over anything. I just remember feeling so calm and at peace.

I can’t wait to continue ramping up the miles. I really want to be super prepared for my marathon in late January. I don’t want to slack during my high mileage training. That’s usually my biggest downfall. If I can keep running fun routes around town and explore my new city, there’s no reason why my 13-20 milers have to be boring or monotonous.

Now if I can keep staying zen and inspired about the whole thing!

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